Last weekend I went on a quick trip down to my college town of Decorah, Iowa with my dear college friend Aimée. She was in Minneapolis visiting from Port Townsend, Washington for our mutual friends B's and D's wedding, and it was a great celebration. I did all the flowers (photos to come!). After the wedding, we had a quick little day trip through southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa. I made hummus to take along on our trip, and it was positively delicious and so easy, and I wanted to share it with you. I generally think bean dip is the perfect travel food. It is the perfect quick and easy thing to make for meals, snacks, picnics, etc etc etc. And the ingredients really couldn't be simpler: quality canned chickpeas, roasted red pepper, capers, lemon, fresh garlic, and olive oil. Together they create a rich and flavorful hummus, full of fresh flavor that jazzes up raw veggies, wraps, chips or crackers, or even cold hamburger patties (our breakfast in the car on Saturday morning).
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
yields about 2 cups
2 cups cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)
1 roasted red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 head garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
Saute garlic and capers in olive until garlic is softened and golden, but not browned. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Place chickpeas, red pepper, lemon juice, and garlic, capers, and sauteing oil in a food processor or blender and process until totally smooth and creamy. Add salt to taste, and serve.
Will keep for up to a week refrigerated.
In addition to sharing the recipe, I also wanted to share a few photos from my weekend on the road. Most of the photos here are from Preston, Minnesota, a teeny, tiny little farm town close to the Iowa border. I had about 1 1/2 hours to kill as Aimée caught up with a friend of hers that now lives there, so I wandered the city. It was a Sunday morning, and only the grocery store and one sandwich shop were open. It was hot and humid, the air felt thick, and everything was lush crazy green. I walked from one side of the town to the other, and came across all sorts of stuff that you only find in small towns with agrarian pasts, like abandoned tractors, gas stations, feed mills. It was eerily quiet - most of the time I was the only person on the street, even though it was the middle of the day.
Once we got to Decorah, I put down my camera and got busy socializing. I was awfully busy hanging out at the Oneota Community Co-op - the local gathering place and my first co-op love. We caught up with old friends, had a wonderful lunch, and bought ingredients for the potluck we were attending that night. Then off to the river for a swim, where we jumped off the bank and floated downstream, only to crawl out, walk upstream, and do it again. And again. And again. After sunning ourselves on the rocky shore, we went to a friends' house to prepare food for a community sing & potluck that night out in the country. I made a big raw kale salad, my friend made a beautiful fruit salad, and our friends brought watermelon. It was so beautiful. We headed out to the country to the big home of the family that was hosting. The husband is a builder and built an amazing home that is geothermally cooled and heated, and built in the middle of the woods. Big windows overlook the valleys, and everything is big and open and airy. More than 30 people of all ages were circled around in the living room, basking in the glow of community and positivity, with bellies full of homemade food. We spent the night singing rounds and protest songs. Aimée is a gift musician and singer, as are most of the people that were there, and the voices and music that came out of that night were nothing short of pure beauty. At the end of it all, I collapsed into bed while a hot summer night storm rumbled through the valley.
When morning came, the sun shone bright on the field of Queen Anne's Lace and goldenrod, drying the leftover drops of rain in the field. In a strange twist of fate, I had a flat tire, which was promptly fixed by a nice man named Don and his trusty repair shop. Thankfully, we were able to walk to the co-op where we spent the morning catching up with other townies and relishing in the warmth of friendship. Then Aimée busted out a guitar and our friend Pine Wilson showed up with her accordion and they played gypsy music right there in the co-op. It was heaven.
My friends are so effin' cool. I am so lucky.
Here are a few images to give you the feel of my weekend...
For those of you that d have never spent time any time in small Midwestern towns, the site of abandoned tractors, grain silos, and posters for potluck dinners is completely and totally normal. The green of this grass is also totally unretouched - my little corner of the Midwest just looks that lush all the time. Pretty amazing, huh? I didn't snap any out the window photos as we drove through the rolling farmlands because I was too caught up in feeling the breeze and watching it pass by to think about grabbing my camera. Truly, very little beats the landscape of southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa. Bluffs, rivers, lush green farmland, hills, valleys, trees, caves....
This land is my heart.
I was so inspired by my trip to Decorah that I decided to jump ship from the city this weekend too, and head out to reconnect with the Earth. So, yesterday I left Minneapolis with a car of camping gear and I am currently far far away from computers and such (I love scheduling posts to publish). :) I drove up to the Apostle Islands lakeshore and found somewhere to camp and am spent the day exploring all trails and sea caves and trees and stuff. I've always wanted to see the Apostle Islands, so why not now? Then this morning I am driving to Ashland, Wisconsin to attend the Lake Superior Traditional Ways Gathering. I am meeting up with friends and we will spend 4 days camping on the shore of the lake and learning various traditional skills from tanning deer hide and making stone knives to food preservation, felting, and foraging wild herbs. Pretty cool, right? I can't wait!
I hope to write about what I made for gluten-free, allergy-friendly camping food, as well as what I learned, so stay posted, and I'll be back soon with loads of photos and information. But right now I'm in the woods, connecting with the land, and warding off ticks with raw garlic and relishing in being far away EMF pollution, my alarm clock, and car exhaust.